Unlike God’s steadfast, never changing, constant love for you and me, our lives change every single day. Just when we are comfortable or when we have finally overcome a loss or significant challenge, the rug gets pulled out from under our feet.
I have been inspired by two “differently abled” people who adapted in amazing ways to change.
One was Fred (not his name) who had polio like me. He had a razor-sharp brain for math. However, polio left him with two totally paralyzed arms. One he named Charles and the other he named Steve. With a good sense of humor, Fred said that his arms, Charles and Steve, never did anything. They just “hung around like good old friends.”
Fred became a successful accountant. He learned to write figures in ledgers by placing a pencil between his toes on his right foot. Fred was not ashamed or embarrassed by his condition. One day, I witnessed his courage when we went to lunch at a restaurant. Fred sat at the table. Next, he removed his shoes. Then, he placed his two bare feet on the table for the remainder of the meal. When Fred was thirsty, he placed his two cupped-feet around the glass to drink his iced tea. He ate his meal with a fork held between the toes on his right foot. He cut the meat on his plate with a knife held between the toes in his left foot and a fork held between the toes on his right foot. Fred was oblivious to the stares of the others who dined next to our table.
Then, there was Edna (not her real name). She was born without any arms. Her mother had taken Thalidomide to prevent morning sickness when she was pregnant. Thalidomide caused the deformities which Edna had to adapt to for her entire life. Edna became a successful engineer. She learned to dress herself and to drive a car. She magnificently coped with change and always retained a profound sense of humor. Edna told me that on a drive to San Antonio on Interstate 10 a State Trooper pulled up beside her car. The Trooper turned on his flashing lights. He vigorously waived for her to pull over. After pulling over and coming to a stop, Edna looked at her rear-view mirror. She saw the Trooper walking briskly toward her car door. She could see the anger on his face.
Edna rolled down her window. The Trooper exclaimed, “Lady, you might think it is funny. But you cannot drive a car in Texas with your feet on the steering wheel! Step out of the car right now!” The moment Edna got out of the car, the Trouper knew that he had stepped in a huge pile of doggie fertilizer. Seeing that Edna had no arms, the Trooper profusely apologized. Edna graciously accepted his apology. She told this story to everyone with laughter and with no bitterness toward the Trooper or the condition Thalidomide left her in.
Fred and Edna embraced their physical imperfections with dignity, self-worth and good humor. They each overcame the anxiety and stress experienced in having to adapt to unwanted and disabling conditions. To live. To learn. To work. To love others and themselves. If Edna and Fred can do that, why cannot you with God’s help?
God has spoken in Scripture words of encouragement in adapting to change.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Let us pray.
Dear God, I fear change in my life. I am anxious because I do not feel in control of the life You have gifted me. In prayer I ask You to help me learn to trust You when change happens.
God, may I manage change and adapt to it in ways for me to grow and to become more like You.
God, I thank You for having plans for my life. I need not fear that You will ever abandon me when adapting to change seems impossible for me. For in You and with You, all things are always possible. Amen
If you think Jack’s prayer helps you or will help someone you know, please forward it to them. Jack may never make millions selling books or writing prayers, but spreading God’s good news to others is reward enough for him.
Ann Boland, Jack’s Publicist
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